Central China's Hubei province, which is preparing for the construction of the country's first inland nuclear power plant, is considering building three more such plants, a local official has said.
The Xishui County, Yangxin County and Zhongxiang City would seat the three plants according to a plan, said Zhen Jianqiao, deputy director of the Hubei Provincial Development and Reform Commission.
"We have submitted an application to the National Development and Reform Commission for the Xishui project," Zhen said.
He said Hubei is short of coal, oil and natural gas resources and nuclear power would offer a safe, economic and clean energy for the province's development.
Local authorities have relocated residents from the land designated for the first inland nuclear power plant in Xianning City, and completed road construction for the project, Zhen said.
"An environment assessment report has also been finished and is being reviewed by the superior authorities," he said.
The cost of the first two phases of the project, with an installed capacity of 4 million kw, is estimated at 50 billion yuan ($7.3 billion). The third phase could cost 45 billion yuan.
Construction will start as soon as the environment assessment report is approved, local officials have said.
China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG) and the Hubei provincial government agreed in March last year to jointly build the plant. CGNPG and Hubei Energy Group established a joint venture, known as Hubei Nuclear Power Co Ltd, in June to develop nuclear power in the province.
China has 11 nuclear reactors at six plants, all on the east coast, with a combined installed capacity of 9.07 million kw. The capacity of the CGNPG project is equivalent to 43.5 percent of the total.
Faced with an energy crunch resulting from fast economic growth, China plans to develop more nuclear power. The country plans to have 40 million kw of installed nuclear capacity by 2020, which would be 4 percent of projected energy supply, or double the current level.